Indestructable cat feeder for very large, strong and always hungry cat
February 2, 2023 5:01 PM   Subscribe

Do you have an automatic cat feeder that will survive a 15 pound cat who has managed to rip open bags of chips, open cabinet doors and is driving us crazy with his demanding food ways? This means a cat feeder that will not let a cat (our cat) infiltrate the food repository, the feeder won't break and open if knocked over, and will generally stand up to a very aggressive seeker of food.

I've read the askme answers on this question of automatic feeders but no cat seems to quite fit the description of Relish (better know as Mr. Snack who is otherwise a wonderful cat). We're also working on behavioral stuff but an automatic feeder will solve at least one of our problems. Thank you!
posted by bluesky43 to Pets & Animals (12 answers total)
Best answer: I’ve been pleased with how sturdy this model is for my chonky, food crazy, eighteen pound cat. My only issue is that it needs to be refilled after four meals. I tried the upright, gravity fed dispenser but it often got clogged and was not a success.

posted by kittygrandma at 5:48 PM on February 2

Best answer: I’m afraid this is impossible to answer without photos of Sir Relish, Mr. Snack!
posted by sevensnowflakes at 6:00 PM on February 2 [12 favorites]

Best answer: I once watched a video of someone "hacking" (diy modification) the cat feeder to make it much sturdier and impossible to break into. If I can find it again, I'll post it. This list is supposedly the sturdiest but I suspect a 15 lb cat can definitely push over some of these.

I also have a bag-ripper (most recently, the instant mashed potatoes??????!) and cabinet-opener and aggressive seeker of food (tipped over multiple kitchen trash cans, opened the broiler drawer of the oven). I would love an auto-feeder but don't trust any of them to stand up to my determined, clever cat.
posted by spamandkimchi at 6:11 PM on February 2

Best answer: Forgot to note the feeder:
Casfuy 5-meals Automatic Cat Feeder - Auto Pet Feeder with Programmable Timer
posted by kittygrandma at 6:17 PM on February 2

Best answer: If you've not already seen it, you should read Furiosa's Cat Feeder, in which someone with the same problem eventually determined - via trying everything else first - that the only way to keep their cat out of the feeder was to build a welded steel box around it.
You might say I’ve won this battle. However I just spent 20 hours armor-plating a cat feeder. I think we know who’s really in control here, don’t we?
posted by automatronic at 6:21 PM on February 2 [12 favorites]

Best answer: I know this is one of those not-answering-the-question answers, but please ask your vet about checking your cat's thyroid function, if you haven't already done so, and if this hasn't been ruled out for some other reason. Our always extremely hungry cat was a hyperthyroid cat. Treating it largely handled The Hunger.
posted by pullayup at 7:10 PM on February 2 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Remove the dish from the feeder. Use pipe clamps, big ones, to attach PVC pipe to the food chute. Put the feeder in a cabinet with a hole drilled in the door, it will have to be raised up so you get some slope on the pipe. The hole must be the size of the pipe, no bigger. Lock the cabinet door (important!) Cat food comes down the long pipe at feeding time, cat cannot access food other ways. Even if he manages to pull the PVC pipe off, the next meal just dispenses into the cabinet, further enraging him. Works best if you have the feeder cabinet mounted to a wall, about 4 ft up, so that if he pulls the pipe out, he can't somehow crawl up and fish kibbles out of the hole with his paw. Does it look terrible? Yes. Does it work? Yes, at least for our destructive cat.
posted by bluebelle at 8:08 PM on February 2 [1 favorite]

Best answer: We built a custom wooden box for our automatic feeder so our 18lber couldn't knock it over. Weighed the whole thing down with bricks. I'm not sure if any of them can withstand a big, determined cat without some modification.
posted by GrimmblyTuna at 6:49 AM on February 3

Best answer: We have two 15-pounders who were terribly aggressive food seekers. (We had to install child-proof locks on the pantry door, despite being childless.) The vet said they were on the slim side for their giant, muscular frames and to try giving them about 30% more food. When we made the switch, the obsessive food scrounging stopped. They both gained a few ounces, but the vet is satisfied with their size. Now they just start begging 30 minutes before mealtime, which is a huge improvement. Just a thought based on our large-cat experience.
posted by writermcwriterson at 7:24 AM on February 3 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I use this one for my 19lb food monster. It has a low profile so it's hard to throw around, and there isn't a good way for them to get any leverage on it with a paw to turn the wheel. The only negative is that the wells are fairly narrow, so there's some whisker fatigue that I feel guilty about, but my cat is so hungry he gets past that. No accidents yet!

Petsafe 5 Meal Dog Food Dispenser.
posted by bluesky78987 at 7:55 AM on February 3

Best answer: Do you have access to a farm supply and feed store? They have heavy-duty and outdoor feeding stations for various animals. They may have something that will work for Mr. Relish.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 10:13 AM on February 3

Response by poster: Thank you all! Given the comments from those with similar smart, big, strong and persistent cats, we are currently contemplating hiring an engineer to create the required steel fortress for whatever model we select haha :). Mr Snack says 'meow'.
posted by bluesky43 at 9:39 AM on February 4

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